Frequently Asked Questions: Academic Administrator Titles

Preparation of the Dossier

1. As a member of the Academic Administrator series, where do I find information on the personnel review process for my series?

Academic Affairs procedures are outlined in the Academic Personnel Manual (UCD 220 and UCD 220AF). The review process is summarized in the Delegation of Authority. For all academic titles, the Vice Provost-Academic Affairs sends an Annual Call to the deans which is updated and issued after the end of each academic year. It outlines information on changes in the APM and a timeline for submitting documentation for merit and promotion dossiers to the Office of the Vice Provost. Each dean provides his/her deadlines for specific types of actions. The Annual Call, APM, and Delegation of Authority Chart are available on the Vice Provost-Academic Affairs web page. Academic Administrators should review the specific criteria for advancement outlined in APM 370, UCD 370 and UCD 220AF.

2. What is the normal time between merit and promotion reviews, i.e., how often will I be reviewed?

The normal period between merit reviews is two years. Promotion to the next title entails a review of the period since appointment or promotion to that title (APM 370-19), such promotion shall not normally occur until the individual has served at least six years in the lower title, including at least two years at the top step for that title. In the absence of a merit or promotion, a performance review must be completed at least every four years. The specific salary ranges are listed on the Vice Provost-Academic Affairs web page under Academic Salary Scales for the Academic Administrator series on Table 34.

3. When will I be notified that I am up for a merit or promotion review and that I am expected to prepare a dossier?

In the spring/early summer each dean's office sends to department/program chairs a list of individuals who are eligible to be reviewed for merit and promotion during the next academic year. The chair (or his/her delegate) then notifies each eligible individual. Due dates for dossiers are set by the Deans.

4. On what criteria will my work in the review period be evaluated?

As specified in APM 370 and UCD 370-10, Academic Administrators are evaluated on the following 4 criteria:

• Administration/management of programs
• Professional competence
• University and public service
• Teaching and/or research (optional)

5. When a candidate has two appointments under separate titles, how is the dossier prepared?

In the case of a candidate with two separate appointments, he/she may need to prepare two dossiers, following the guidelines for each title series. The dossiers will be reviewed following the procedures for each title series, so it is necessary to assure that each dossier addresses the criteria for evaluation specific to that title series.

6. Specifically, what is in the dossier and who puts it together?

The dossier is a summary of the body of work during the period of review presented for review.  Departments often have a designated staff member who works with the chair and the candidate in assembling the dossier. The candidate’s performance in each of the designated categories in question #4 (administration/management of programs, professional competence, university and public service, teaching and/or research (optional)) will be described by the candidate, either in a Candidate's Statement (UCD 220-IV F. 2) to be optionally included in the dossier, or in a separate document that is not included in the dossier, but does go to the chair and the approved Peer Group. The candidate supplies information of performance in the various categories, including supporting documents (program evaluations, syllabi, etc.). 

In the case of promotions, extramural reviewers are contacted by the department chair, and their confidential letters in response are part of the dossier. A list of all of the external reviewers solicited, with notation as to whether they were suggested by the candidate or the department, and whether they responded, is also included for department and committee review. This list is a confidential document and is therefore not reviewed by the candidate.  A position description, organizational chart, list of evaluations of teaching (if any), list of teaching activities (if any), complete list of publications (if applicable), and a list of grants, honors and awards are also included in the dossier. Supporting documentation might include copies of publications and teaching evaluations; see Checklist for Merits and Promotions for the title series for a complete list.

An approved Peer Group reviews the materials and makes a recommendation. The approved voting group reviews the materials and votes on the action.  The chair then writes the departmental letter (example:APM 220AF, Exhibit C) which summarizes the departmental evaluation of the candidate’s record, the results of the vote, and a recommendation for or against the advancement.  

7. How is the performance record documented for evaluation?

The performance record is assessed according to the candidate’s position description and the criteria for review listed above (question #4). Documentation (supplied by the candidate or the department) is needed to support performance descriptions in each category, and it could consist of the following:

Administration/management of programs:

  • Describe the mission of the program;
  • Describe planning documents/proposals you have developed;
  • Describe how you have provided intellectual leadership and scholarship to the program.

Professional Competence:

  • Describe evidence of continued leadership in your field;
  • Describe any evidence of continued professional growth;
  • Describe evidence of your ability to work effectively with other Academic Affairs.

University and public service:

  • List/describe evidence of your participation in the governance activities of the University;
  • List/describe evidence of your participation in public service.


Teaching and/or research (if any):

If teaching or research is part of the expected duties of the position:

8. Are awards, prizes, and commendations considered in the merit or promotion review?

Yes. They should be fully described in the department letter and the Candidate’s Statement. Letters of thanks/appreciation for service to the University, the government, a professional society, etc., while not included in the dossier, can be discussed in the departmental letter as indicators of the impact of the candidate’s service or program management. A list of honors and awards is included as part of the dossier.

9. Once the candidate, or the department, assembles all of the above information, how is it presented in the dossier?

The candidate may send the information described in questions 6, 7, and 8 to the Chair with/without further commentary; or he/she may send a Candidate’s Statement (UCD 220-IV F.2) which would be used by the Chair in writing the department letter. The Candidate’s Statement would also be considered by the Peer Group and the Voting Group. It may also be included in the dossier that goes forward for review outside the department. The following examples describe the kinds of information that may be included in the Candidate’s Statement, the Peer Group Report, and the Department Letter.

Candidate’s Statement (UCD220-IV F.2): Each candidate may include a personal statement in the file (up to 5 pages), describing their perspective on any or all aspects of their performance during the period of review. Although optional, it is an opportunity for the candidate to describe: significant accomplishments during the review period; philosophy of service; and any unusual circumstances, both good and bad, that have affected performance in the various areas. For example:

  • Description of the program(s) and the significance of the various projects;
  • Problems which have occurred with an aspect of the program, and any successful solutions the candidate has developed;
  • Explanation of the significance of any recognition awards or honors received during the review period;
  • Description of any particularly noteworthy achievements.

Peer Group Report (Optional inclusion in dossier): The Peer Group which was specifically selected according to the department plan, evaluates the candidate’s performance, reviews the written materials and advises the department on the merits of the personnel action.

Department Letter: The letter is written by the chair (or a designated senior member of the department) and reflects the department’s evaluation (not merely the chair’s) of the adequacy of performance of the candidate -- i.e., whether he/she meets departmental expectations and goals in the various areas of responsibility. In addition to the analysis of work performance in the required areas (program management, professional competence, university and public service, teaching and/or research (if any), the letter includes the views of the peer group reviewing the dossier, as well as the official vote (i.e., that of the approved Voting Group) including the number of yes, no, and abstention votes and any reasons expressed for the no or abstention votes. There are Sample Departmental Letters in the APM.

10. When are extramural letters and clientele letters needed?

Extramural letters are needed for promotions.  Evaluation of the quality of the work or service is sought from extramural contacts that would have the expertise/knowledge to provide an objective evaluation of the candidate’s accomplishments during the period of review. Such external reviewers could include administrators of government programs or agencies with whom the candidate has interacted, scientists, researchers or other experts in the field, administrators of agricultural or consumer groups, comparable administrators at other universities who have worked on similar programs, etc. The candidate provides the chair with a list of extramural reviewers and their qualifications to serve as reviewers. The chair, sometimes after consultation with senior members of the department, generates another list that is not revealed to the candidate. The chair then selects names from each list and solicits the letters. The combined list of reviewers who were contacted is included in the dossier, with notation as to whether the names were suggested by the candidate or the department and whether they responded.

Letters can be requested from administrators on other UC campuses, particularly from people holding comparable positions who are familiar with the candidate’s work. The letters in response to the solicitation are added to the file by the chair as soon as they are received. Since they are confidential documents, the candidate will only be shown redacted copies of these letters.

11. How many extramural letters are needed?

A minimum of five letters is usually expected in the review dossier for promotion. Extramural referees will be asked to comment on your performance with regard to the four criteria listed above (question #4). Campus reviewers will look to see if the extramural referees:

  • Are well respected in their field;
  • If university employees, are at least of a rank comparable to the position being sought;
  • Discuss the impact of the candidate’s research/service/administration;
  • Consider the candidate’s career to be on an upward trajectory;
  • Discuss the context in which they have known the candidate (below their signature line).
12. Does the candidate see the department letter?

The candidate must be provided an opportunity to review the materials before they are reviewed by the Voting Group. The Departmental Letter, which contains the vote is also provided to the candidate before the file goes forward to the dean’s office for review. This gives the candidate an opportunity to alert the chair to any factual errors.

13. What can the candidate do if he/she doesn’t agree with the department letter?

Although the content of the letter is not negotiable, the candidate should alert the chair to factual errors. Once these errors are corrected, the candidate can write a rebuttal if he/she still disagrees with the department’s recommendation or wants to clarify statements made in the letter. Any rebuttal letter must be submitted within 10 calendar days from the candidate’s receipt of the departmental letter and his/her signature on the disclosure form (indicating that she/he has read the file and certifies that it is complete and factually correct). A rebuttal may be sent directly to the dean or Vice Provost-Academic Affairs if the candidate does not want to submit it via the departmental chair.

14. What is the Candidate’s Disclosure Certificate?

This is a standard form which the candidate reviews and signs, verifying that he/she has seen the non-confidential content of the file and that it is complete and free of factual errors, and also that a summary or redacted copy of confidential materials has been provided.

15. In summary, what documents are in the dossier, or appended to it, when it leaves the department?

The Academic Administrator candidate can use the Checklist for Merits and Promotions form on the Vice Provost-Academic Affairs’s website, to determine whether they have included all the necessary information in the dossier.

Dossier Inclusions:

Department Letter (including the vote)
Peer Group Review (optional)
Candidate’s Disclosure Certificate
List of Invited Extramural Reviewers (for promotion actions)
Extramural Reviewer Letters (for promotion actions)
Candidate’s Statement (optional)
Position Description
Organizational Chart
List of Evaluations of Teaching (if any)
List of Teaching Activities (if any)
Complete List of Publications (if applicable)
List of grants, honors and awards, or projects (if any)

Appended Materials (To be returned to the candidate):

Publications (if any)
Evaluations (of any classes taught)


The use of the MyInfoVault (MIV) program for all merits or promotions is highly encouraged.  Please contact your department MSO for further information.

Review of the Dossier

1. What is the process by which dossiers are reviewed, how long does it take, and who does it?

The process is summarized in the Delegation of Authority.

  • Department: Once the dossier has been assembled, it is reviewed within the department by a Peer Group that will provide evaluative comments to the voting members of the department (i.e., the Voting Group). The latter will review the entire dossier, including the Peer Group comments and vote on the action.  Academic Federation and Academic Senate votes are tallied separately and reported in two separate department letters (However, only one letter needs to include a detailed evaluation/discussion about the candidate’s performance unless the views of the AS and AF voters differ). The chair may include comments from the Peer Group review. The complete dossier is then forwarded to the dean.
  • Dean/Associate Dean for Academic Affairs/Personnel: From the Dean's office, all materials are sent to the ASPC, whose members evaluate the materials and add their written recommendation to the file. All of these materials are then reviewed by the Dean, who makes the final decision based on all the information in the file.
  • Process/Time Frame: The length of time necessary for the whole process varies with the complexity of the review. Staff check the file at all stages to ensure that all necessary documents are included and that the correct processes have been followed; every effort is made to expedite the file through the process. Review by a personnel committee may take some months. Most final decisions are made by the end of the academic year (June), but any that are not completed and had met the deadline leaving the department, will be completed during the summer or early fall and are made effective retroactive to July 1st.
2. What personnel committee has responsibility for reviewing Academic Administrators?

Academic Administrators are reviewed by the:

AF ADMINISTRATIVE SERIES PERSONNEL COMMITTEE (ASPC): The committee reviews the complete dossier. The file is then returned to the Dean who makes the final decision based on the entire file including all recommendations.

The following topics are typical of the concerns of the various reviewers (Peer Group, Department Chair, Voting Group, Dean, Personnel Committee, and Vice Provost-Academic Affairs) who will evaluate the file. (See: APM 370-10 and UCD 370-10). A candidate’s performance will be judged on the quality of the specific areas of responsibility as identified in the position description and criteria for the position (APM 370-10a-c).

Reviewer's Concerns

The following topics are typical of the concerns of the various reviewers (Peer Group, Department Chair, Voting Group, Dean, Personnel Committee, and Vice Provost-Academic Affairs) who will evaluate the file. (See: APM 370-10 and UCD-370-10). A candidate’s performance will be judged on the quality of the specific areas of responsibility as identified in the position description and criteria for the position (APM 370-10a-c).

Administration/Management of Programs

1. What is meant by “administration/management of programs”?

Academic Administrators are expected to oversee complex units with a large degree of independence. Their duties may include directing the activities of a support staff and coordinating the activities of faculty and academic staff involved in the program(s). The primary focus of the position is administration that requires academic credentials equivalent to the professorial series. They are expected to provide intellectual leadership and scholarship on a par with other research personnel in the implementation of any research-oriented program in the unit in which they serve.

Administrators are expected to oversee one or more programs. Responsibilities may include:

  • Planning, development and evaluation of programs;
  • Direction and supervision of staff;
  • Development of proposals for extramural funding;
  • Management of program resources; and
  • Administration of a program or unit in relation to its mission
2. How will performance be evaluated?

A candidate will be judged on the quality of performance in the specific areas of responsibility as identified in the criteria (part A, question #4) and the position description. Professional accomplishments and scholarly achievements will be considered if they are required of the position.

Professional Competence

1. What is meant by “professional competence”?

The candidate's professional activities should be scrutinized for evidence of achievement and leadership in the area of responsibility and of demonstrated evidence of continued professional growth and ability to effectively work with Academic Affairs within their unit and on campus. This could include:

Academic Administrators with teaching responsibilities are expected to show competence and creativity in this area.

University and Public Service

1. What type of service is expected of Academic Administrators?

Academic Administrators are expected to participate in the administration of their home unit and campus through appropriate roles in governance and policy formation. They may also represent the University in both the public and private sector. Such activities may include:

  • Participation in campus governance through committee membership (including Academic Federation committees), community activities and projects that are University-wide in scope;
  • Service in a liaison capacity with other public and private agencies.

Evidence of a candidate’s commitment to service through accomplishments or contributions should be documented.

2. Are some activities more important than others; i.e., do reviewers give more credit for some activities?

Yes. Reviewers recognize that there are hierarchies of activities and that the most important assignments are those requiring lots of time, effort, and/or expertise. Specific credit is given for extraordinary activities like chairing committees/panels/societies/public service organizations, acting as an expert witness, representing the University, organizing a large meeting, giving invited lectures or keynote speeches, etc.

Special Review Considerations

The review considerations that apply are summarized in the Academic Personnel Attribute. For specific procedures see UCD 220AF Academic Federation Review and Advancement. In addition to normal merit and promotion actions, Academic Administrators are eligible to be considered for the following:

Acceleration: Acceleration is a merit or promotion action that occurs prior to eligibility for normal advancement; i.e., the candidate can be considered for review if the record of performance has been exceptionally strong in at least one major aspect of the candidate’s position description since the last advancement and there was at least normal progress (i.e., very good to excellent) in all other categories. Accelerations are not granted if any component of the record is below expectation. All AF series are eligible to be considered for accelerations. See Delegation of Authority.

Appeal: An Academic Administrator has the right to appeal his/her denied personnel action within 30 calendar days of notification of denial by submitting an appeal letter via the chair, to the dean, addressing each of the specific criticisms which led to the denial recommendation by the reviewer(s). Since the action is non-redelegated, the dean evaluates the appeal, writes a recommendation, and forwards all of the material to the office of the Vice Provost-Academic Affairs. These materials are then referred to the ASPC for review and recommendation. The Vice Provost-Academic Affairs makes the final decision after reviewing all materials including the recommendation from ASPC.

Term Appointment: A term appointment is an appointment for a specific period that ends on a specified date. An appointment with an established ending date is self-terminating subject to the notice requirements of APM 137-32. The University has the discretion to appoint and reappoint non-Senate academic appointees with term appointments; reappointment is not automatic. All appointees in the Academic Administrator series have term appointments.

Special Review Considerations

The review considerations that apply are summarized in the Academic Personnel Attribute Chart. For specific procedures see UCD 220AF Academic Federation Review and Advancement. In addition to normal merit and promotion actions, Academic Administrators are eligible to be considered for the following:

Acceleration: Acceleration is a merit or promotion action that occurs prior to eligibility for normal advancement; i.e., the candidate can be considered for review if the record of performance has been exceptionally strong in at least one major aspect of the candidate’s position description since the last advancement and there was at least normal progress (i.e., very good to excellent) in all other categories. Accelerations are not granted if any component of the record is below expectation. All AF series are eligible to be considered for accelerations. See Delegation of Authority.

Appeal: An Academic Administrator has the right to appeal his/her denied personnel action within 30 calendar days of notification of denial by submitting an appeal letter via the chair, to the dean, addressing each of the specific criticisms which led to the denial recommendation by the reviewer(s). Since the action is non-redelegated, the dean evaluates the appeal, writes a recommendation, and forwards all of the material to the office of the Vice Provost-Academic Affairs. These materials are then referred to the ASPC for review and recommendation. The Vice Provost-Academic Affairs makes the final decision after reviewing all materials including the recommendation from ASPC.

Term Appointment: A term appointment is an appointment for a specific period that ends on a specified date. An appointment with an established ending date is self-terminating subject to the notice requirements of APM 137-32. The University has the discretion to appoint and reappoint non-Senate academic appointees with term appointments; reappointment is not automatic. All appointees in the Academic Administrator series have term appointments.